RIP Leslie Nielsen
In this file photo taken May 22, 1996, Leslie Nielsen, right, and Nicollette Sheridan, co-stars in the movie “Spy Hard,” make an appearance at Planet Hollywood in New York. The Canadian-born Nielsen, who went from drama to inspired bumbling as a hapless doctor in “Airplane!” and the accident-prone detective Frank Drebin in “The Naked Gun” comedies, has died. He was 84. His agent John S. Kelly said the actor died Sunday, Nov. 28, 2010, at a hospital near his home in Florida where he was being treated for pneumonia. (AP Photo
Leslie Nielsen, who traded in his career as a respected dramatic actor for a clueless comedic style in spoofs like “Airplane!” and “The Naked Gun” movies, has died. He was 84.
The Canada native died from complications from pneumonia at a hospital near his home, surrounded by his wife, Barbaree, and friends, his agent John S. Kelly said in a statement to the Associated Press.
According to the AP, Nielsen went to Hollywood in the mid-1950s after performing in 150 live television dramas in New York. With a handsome face, blond hair and 6-foot-2 stature, he seemed ideal for a movie star.
Nielsen first performed as the king of France in the Paramount operetta “The Vagabond King” with Kathryn Grayson. The film — he called it “The Vagabond Turkey” — flopped, but MGM signed him to a seven-year contract.
His first role for that studio was as the space ship commander in the 1956 science fiction classic “Forbidden Planet.” He found his best dramatic role as the captain of an overturned ocean liner in the 1972 disaster movie “The Poseidon Adventure.”
He became well known to baby boomers for his role as the Revolutionary War fighter Francis Marion in the Disney TV adventure series “The Swamp Fox.”
Behind the camera, the serious actor was a well-known prankster. He finally got to show off the comedic side of his personality when the disaster spoof “Airplane!” was released in 1980 and became a huge hit. Playing a hapless doctor aboard a flight of violently ill passengers, he deadpanned his most famous line:
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